by Matt Alderton | October 21, 2013
Technology, globalization and sustainability continue to drive the meetings industry forward, according to the German Convention Bureau (GCB), which last week released the results of “Meetings and Conventions 2030,” a study of megatrends that are shaping global meetings and events.

“The meetings industry is an economic driver for nations all over the world,” GCB Managing Director Matthias Schultze said last week at a press conference during IMEX America. “As an innovation leader, we envision this megatrends study helping players in the industry develop a future-oriented strategy that can generate business and economic success.”

According to GCB’s research, the top five megatrends driving the global meetings industry are:

Technology: “More than 41.6 percent of respondents identified technology in work and life to be very influential in the future of the meetings business,” GCB said in a press release. “New forms of knowledge transfer will influence all phases of event planning. For example, the worlds of virtual and live events will blur as planners incorporate virtual components in live events and the number of networked virtual events increase.”

Globalization and internationalization: “Approximately 28.6 percent felt very strongly that globalization will have a major impact,” according to GCB. “Meetings will be all the more important to address issues that arise through increased interconnectedness of cultures and peoples. Individuals will need to be more aware of nuances among country cultures, preferences and lifestyles and speak multiple languages.”

Mobility: “Getting to and from events easily and comfortably and with the smallest possible ecological footprint will continue to be an important aspect of event planning,” GCB said, noting that mobility of the future was selected as having a “very strong impact” on meetings by 26 percent of survey respondents. “Host organizations will affect this process through the selection of easily accessible event locations and the use of ‘event tickets’ for air and train transportation, among other things.”

Sustainability: “Sustainability will remain a guiding principle to influence all areas of meeting planning, from construction and renovation of venues, to transportation, food and entertainment,” GCB stated, noting that sustainability was selected as having a “very strong impact” on meetings by 26 percent of survey respondents. “One aspect of this development is the increasing ‘regionalization’ of meetings, where meeting organizers focus more on utilizing local suppliers as well as inviting local and regional audiences more than before.”

Demographic change: “Demographic change was cited by 18.2 percent of respondents as ‘very strong,’” according to GCB. “An increasingly older meeting attendee population will require accessibility, but the implications extend significantly beyond getting around; they affect the meeting format, even the credentials and demographics of the speakers and presenters. Additionally, as more women travel the meetings circuit, features such as additional security for women traveling alone and child care, among others, will need to be considered. Meeting topics and flexible formats will also be shaped by the growing number of females traveling to meetings and conferences. Similar considerations, such a food choices and holiday observances, must be made as the meeting populations become increasingly diverse.”

Concluded Schultz, “We already have plans to further study these trends to determine how our value proposition should evolve to maintain Germany’s reputation as a world-leading meeting destination.”

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